Successful Brand Creation

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A Brand is a product, it symbolises the organisation and its characteristics. Products which are taken on identify the brands. A brand is recognition and merges with the customer experiences and links both the product and the customer. A customers experience with the particular product creates a mental relationship and an image of the product amongst the customers (Monty Montague, Spring 1999). A brand impression is as valuable and effective as any image created through heavy marketing.

Key Factors Involved in Successful Brand Creation.

An unbranded product is a commodity (McEnally, de Chernatony 1999), a brand’s various forms over a period of time are:

* Brand as reference

* Brand as personality

* Brand as icon

* Brand as policy.

Important factors for creating a successful brand are:

* Brand identity.

* Customer Experience

* Design and Appearance

* Product Characteristics

The above factors have various under lying factors which influence a successful brand creation.

Brand Identity

A brand represents the basic characters of a product and the manufacturing organisation. They are made, packed and distributed for sales. Each and every stage of the process reflects the brand and its image. The Total sensory experience of a brand from the point of sales to the sales environment and promotions to purchase and use creates an image which emphasises the Brand identity.

A brand image creates a reputation, Reputation is the most important factor and helps in creating a strong market value, and Branding is all about the reputation developed over the number of years of existence(McEnally, de Chernatony 1999),. Good brands stand the test of time. To develop a brand that will last a lifetime, the companies go beyond what they do right now, thinking long term. Consider at Coke, Ford and General Electric. No matter what they sell or how they change over time, they can rely on their brand equity built on a foundation of customer trust to take them deep into their customer is trust quotient and keep them there.

Every company has a reputation. Everyone the company interacts with will form an opinion about the company, even if they have not done business with them yet. The challenge is to manage your reputation so that the opinion that people have of you is positive. This is what creates a brand.

A brand is unlikely to have one brand image, but several, though one or two can be predominate. The term “brand image “has developed to become more popular as evidence began to grow that the feelings and images associated with the brand became purchase influencers(Karl D. Speak, winter 2000). Good brand images are instantly evoked, are positive, and are always unique among competitive brands. The Brand identity therefore gives a product or the organization a competitive boost and also a reputation of superior quality or customer satisfaction. Brand identity is reinforced by brand communications such as packaging, customer service, word of mouth and other aspects of brand experience.

Customer Experience

The most important facet of Brand creation is the customer’s experience with the product. A branded product creates images in customer’s minds. The customers have such connection owing to the quality, performance, appearance and overall product satisfaction. The customer experience is so important that it is a vital need for the customers to appreciate the product i.e. the brand. Branding is the most powerful marketing tool as it is clear that it provides a significant competitive advantage.

The most common Factors which influence the customer’s perception and buyer behavior of a brand are:

* Emotional

* Cultural

* Social

The emotional type is when a customer has an emotional attachment to a particular brand; the reasons can be as common as quality, performance or the image which the product reflects can be of an emotional value to the customers.

Cultural reasons for a customer to be buys to a product which may be due to the cultural values of the customers. For example a customer may have a particular interest in a product because it reflects the cultural background, for example language, when Nokia came out with multi language phones it became a major sales hit in South Africa. Many organizations adapt such strategies to provide something unique for a particular group of people.

Social factors are the reasons owing to the social scenario of a particular customer, it is a strong influence especially in the automobile industry, though a customer has no interest in what cars or vehicle they use they are inclined to buy a certain range of cars to provide the customers the social respect they may desire.

Customer Loyalty

A brand can influence a customer through the experiences they have come across using particular brands. Customer loyalty shows a stronger brand leadership. The experience of a brand does equal the experience of the product (Monty Montague, Spring 1999)

Customers are touched by products and brands, creating a positive experience and comfortable blanket of images. The Various experiences that a customer has with brand begins from the point of purchase to daily usage of the product. The Promise/Delivery equation, the promise made by the product and the brand creates a certain enthusiasm and attracts the customers to buy and increases market share. The various reasons behind such a buzz can be:

* Point of sale environment

* Appearance and packaging

* Merchandising

* Advertising and promotions

* Psychological connection

The delivery made, the product design and the comprehensive communication of the brand provides a long lasting impression which develops a brand loyalty and provides area for the brand to extend itself with its original and new upcoming products (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

The experiences from previous and past deliveries create an impression of the product and guide the buyer behavior. “A first time purchase of a new product is influenced not only by the promise of that brand/product but also by the delivery experienced through other related products and brands.” (Monty Montague, Spring 1999)

Design and Appearance

Another important factor to be taken under consideration in case of brand creation is the Design or the physical features of a product. Good design is a attraction and a competitive advantage. This is very relevant to the features of brand experience but is so important and is considered to be a major issue in organizations it takes its own stand as a factor to build a brand image.

Companies that take advantage of the promise/delivery equation realize that design plays a crucial role in the integration of product and brand experiences (Monty Montague, Spring 1999). Design in general is the creation of solutions for people’s various needs. It is true to state that organizations which are leading brands are creative and innovative by nature. There are various instances in history where an organization has redeemed itself from serious conditions of bad spells by a mere redesign of its product’s appearance. A good example of that is Otima, jus buy redesigning the bottle and positioning the female consumers, the sales went up 37 fold and a increase of 27% in the market in a static tawny port market. There are many more instances where redesigning has changed sales and market share.

A good design is not just the appearance of the product or the way it is packaged, it is also a factor when it comes to the quality of a product in terms of performance and usage. This is more industrial and hence it’s really the industrial design of the product. Industrial design involves the engineering of the product which reflects on the performance and the styling. Product design consists of mainly three elements:

* Technology

* Packaging

* Communication

Industrial design integrates these key elements.

A brand should feature all these elements in a unique display and quality. Design and appearance support the brand image and magnifies the purchaser’s interests.

Product Characteristics

A brand as we know is the product; therefore the characteristic feature of a product is very important for a brand image. The different factors can be quality, appearance, comfort, adaptability, ruggedness and many other attributes that a product may display on a regular basis. For example a Nokia mobile phone is universally known as a user friendly phone. No matter how the models of the company’s products change it maintains its key feature, this distinguishes a brand from another which is very true in case of Nokia till date.

A brand is reputed for its attributes, thus its main advantage lies in quality and design and hence a brand is less dependent on promotions and advertising (Monty Montague, Spring 1999). The key characteristics of the product add a certain brand value which reflects on the pricing of the product and performance. The recent arguments against branded products not being worth the money spent on is true but brand value caries on to be a purchase attraction. Brand integration to a product development is therefore not only a performance appraisal but also a marketing strategy in present day organizations (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

Conclusions

The various factors involved in successful brand creation are the ones stated and can be integrated into product development to act as a competitive advantage for organizations. Brand creation leads to a strong brand management strategy which includes continuous innovations and creativity in a organization which is indispensable for any brand.

All facets of a brand need to be managed accepting that they do not exist in isolation from another. A successful brand is which when the organization maintains a good brand image and reputation which leads one to another.

Part 2: Integration of Brand Development and Product Development

A Brand is a combination of attributes that distinguish one product from one to another in a competitive market. The process of brand to be incorporated to product development requires serious considerations and measures. “You’ve got to steward your brand if u want to survive and flourish, say the brand enthusiasts” (Karl D. Speak, winter 2000). It is more important to build a stronger brand nowadays more than ever; the competition is ever so high.

“Living the brand” (Karl D. Speak, winter 2000), to take the brand stewardship to a higher stage of identity, product design and communication of a single prominent brand voice. To engage in brand building it requires the whole organization’s commitment in the process.

The Steps involved in successful brand incorporation to product development are:

* Positioning

* Creating the Customer Experience

* Discrete Design

* Feedback

* Brand Stewardship

Each step of a product development is enhanced during brand incorporation, rite from identifying a market gap to concept generation and the final design of the product, to further more promotions and sales. It is known as the integrated development process, where the product development and brand development work in parallel (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

“Like most good ideas in business, the strategies for developing the customer encounter start with a vision,” (Monty Montague, Spring 1999). A company is said to be creative and successful when good ideas come from all parts of the organization. – Dr. John Warnock, Adobe. Considering each of the stated steps in detail will produce the basic process of incorporation of brand development to product development.

Positioning

The process of identifying a market gap and to identify where the brand is placed within the market place and its relationship to competitive brands is defined as positioning of a product/ brand. Brand positioning is determined by defining the brand’s benefits to a consumer, opportunities for which the brand suits the need, the brands target customers and the identification of the brand’s competitors.

To identify the benefits of brand positioning, it is vital to research in detail the position in the market or of the market. Brand maps and brand forms can be created to identify the comparisons of results with competitive brands. The positioning statement can describe how the brand or the product is positioned in the minds of consumers (Monty Montague, Spring 1999), the most influential aspect in creating a brand image and customer’s perception of the product

It is important to realize the benefits of brand positioning in cases of product development and to realize the fact that not all other brands are competitors. A consumer will be presented with numerous brands of one product and may consider a very few of the choice, a consumer may have been disappointed with a particular brand/competitor and may decide to find other brands as alternatives. Positioning is ever so important to realize these customer perceptions and leads on to the creation of a better customer experience, the next vital step in brand creation and incorporation to product development.

Therefore an extensive research of the present market situation will build the foundation of the product development process and helps the organization to move forward in creating the customer attractive product.

Creating the Customer Experience

Any consumer has numerous experiences with many brands and products, all the experiences create a certain mark in the consumer’s perception. Creating customer experience with the product to be developed is a important stage of brand value creation.

The Promise/Delivery Equation

The various ranges of experiences that a customer has or had with a product and brand, the promise delivery equation is formed (Monty Montague, Spring 1999). The promise is the guarantee of the products performance and the delivery is the guarantee that it will fulfill the promises made by the product.

Promise + Delivery = Experience

The promise made by the product is reflected by elements such as Brand Element design (name, nomenclature & visual signature), Brand Experience (point of sales environment, merchandising, brand architecture etc…) and Product Appearance (compelling design and meaningful visual differentiation).

The delivery made is reflected by elements such as Overall Product Design (form and function), Product Experience (performance, product attributes, unexpected features, after service and psychological connection) and Sustained Brand Communication (user guides, loyalty clubs and follow ups).

By means of a good design the promise created can predict a planned expectation and the delivery provided meets the consumer’s expectation to greater level than his or her expectation. Therefore the promise and delivery together form the experience of the product and the brand (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

Integrated Customer Experience

A key process involved in creating a brand experience for the consumer targeted. The integrated customer experience is the experience of a consumer of the product at every encounter or every purchase.

Figure: Integrated Customer Experiences (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

The figure represents how a certain customers are attracted to buy a certain brand, the encounters depicted by each of the customers is necessary to be pleasant i.e. the customers expectations should be met and a brand is a product which meets the customers needs to a greater effect, which can be amplified by all the various factors present in the delivery of a brand/product. The product and brand experiences are inter-related at every customer encounter (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

Therefore to create a brand experience, it is important to first meet a customer’s need and the product made should be capable of not only satisfying the customers need but also have attractive features such as appearance, comfort and all other attributes which will best suit the product’s usage. To achieve this objective, the most important and indispensable factor is a good design. A good design is the key to the success of the product and further more important to brand creation.

Discrete Design

Design is the foundation of brand development. Companies make use of the promise delivery equation to realize the important role the design plays in the integration of product and brand experience. Design is a resource, probably the essential resource to differentiate a brand from its competitors (Tom Peters, winter 2000). It is a strong communication influence for a company to its consumers and to the market.

Reflecting back on the integrated development process of brand and product development, Design is a specialised task and it requires brand designers to work along with the product designers. The design criteria is achieved by the cross functional team. The team will take under consideration the three phases (Monty Montague, Spring 1999):

* Strategy; The process of identifying the customers and users, develop a understanding of the needs and the expectations and evaluate a plan to create a design to meet the needs.

* Creation; Identification and predicting a customer encounter through various research methodologies such as qualitative and quantitative analysis. The brand elements are applied at this stage to create the brand image for the product.

* Implementation; The process of managing the product development and production process ensuring a well timed result to achieve the goal of brand incorporation to the product as and when developed.

The Product and Brand identity is fused by means of corporate design strategy which is the first phase of integrated design process. ” By creating discrete brands, the design team would be able to tie brand to the specific characteristics of the product “(Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

Brands have discrete designs; a discrete design acts as a strategic advantage against competitors. Designers who are trained to face problems from various perspectives and explore multiple solutions are most required, this is known as concept generation and the designers work with visual communications such as models.

Figure: Integrated Development Process (Monty Montague, Spring 1999).

The figure represents the integration of product development and brand development in the design stage. Each stage of design is manipulated by both facets, it is logical to state that its two different teams working in parallel to create an integrated solution to create a product with brand infusion across each stage of design and development. However it is important that designers understand the key emerging values of the customers society, and to be culturally relevant if the organization is to create a brand image and stand the test of time (Marco Bevelo & Reon Brand, winter 2003). It is often noticed that a organisation develops a design partnership with external firms, and on most of the occasions it is collaborated externally to the brand development specialists in case of new brand development.

Design plays a vital role in also packaging and overall product looks. It is very influential for altering the customer’s intrasensory perception. Retailers have discovered the vitality of intrasensory perception and many leading brands have their own unique atmosphere which is created at the sales point such as showrooms, retailers and distributors. It carries a strong message and affects the customers purchase decision.

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